Beyond Life Expectancy—The Case for Monitoring Lifespan Variation
Abstract: Human population health is generally monitored by average mortality levels, typically in terms of life expediencies or age-standardized death rates, which belie substantial variation in length of life. Variation in ages at death, captured by a metric of lifespan variation, should be used to supplement measures of average longevity when comparing or monitoring societies and population subgroups. Although lifespan variation has historically been strongly inversely correlated with life expectancy, we are beginning to see this relationship reversed, resulting in positive correlation in some countries or sub-national populations. Often these changes reflect midlife mortality crises with roots in stratified education and wealth. In this talk I will present empirical examples from around the developed world, pressing the case to monitor lifespan variation.